Hierarchy of Wall Street

Hey guys, I am a student at LSE currently taking a year out to work at a hedge fund in London ($1BN AuM).

I am currently thinking about life after university and wanted to know what order you would put these in based on training, reputation and long term prospects (assuming you would move into these straight out of university as an analyst):

Asset Management, Investment banking, private banking (PWM), Sales and Trading, Equity Research, Hedge fund, Private equity, Venture Capital.

Comments (2)

Best Response
Nov 24, 2017

I'm a bit biased here given my background, but for me I think I'd still go with banking at the junior level when it comes to building the most broad skillsets, as you can go from there to most of the career paths above.. Truth be told, I think it really depends on what you want to do and what direction you would like to take your career, as all of those are outstanding careers in all cases.

Do you have a greater affinity to the markets? Do you like writing very cogent investment theses about a security or industry that you feel bearish or bullish about? Perhaps Asset Management, ER, S&T and HF's would be preferable to you.

Are you driven more by transactions and deals? Do you prefer to see through the entire transaction process? (e.g., Marketing, Diligence, Negotiations, Closing), then perhaps banking would be a good path. This would also be the case if you are looking to get into PE, as you'll build the requisite base and technical skills sought after in PE or VC.

Other times still you may prefer the relationship management aspect of things, but prefer to have a more predictable lifestyle. Perhaps you really love the client relationship and sales aspect of the above paths but really are proficient in this skill particularly. Private Banking would likely be the preferred path for you in this case.

In all cases of the above, I don't really think one is necessarily "better" than the other or more lucrative. All else being equal, the top percentile HF managers will make more than a PE partner, who will make more than a banker, but in the mid cases you start to see a blending of all of the career paths. Given that it's really rare that one is truly exceptional in any of these paths, it's always best to do something you prefer and one that fits in with your specific aptitudes :).

    • 6
Nov 26, 2017